Thursday, February 25, 2010

i have said this before. i think it might be time to say it again. as it turns out, i have the
best dad ever.
my dad is selfless. he is the behind-the-sceens giver. the one who makes things happen and never takes any credit.
the quiet, driving force behind not only our family, but our church family as well.
he cares about others and puts that compassion into action. but action with thought and planning. he is deliberate. his actions, thought out.
oh he might come out the gate charging, but he has the humility and tenacity to listen to wise counsel and to change his course.
my dad is gracious. he is forgiving. he is incredibly generous. my dad provides for my mom, myself, my daughter, my brother and helps those in need.
my dad is my hero.

my dad also happens to be judah's best friend.

his humor . . . takes time. understanding. my dad can make almost anything into a game.
with my dad you're always on an adventure, always keeping score, always seven years old.

this week my dad has made my heart sing because i have watched him once again orchestrate something beautiful. he is putting together not one but two construction teams for "new life to the children" in haiti. he has been online and on the phone constantly seeking volunteers, recruiting help, soliciting organizations for aid.
in all honesty, haiti isn't my dad's forte.
neither is construction. he has said he's not sure his dad even owned a hammer. but he is willing to organize these trips, willing to sacrifice his bed, willing to go because he believes in helping his brother. and he knows that the people of haiti are our brothers and sisters.
he knows very well.
because his best friend is from haiti.
and she has him tied around her little finger (whether he'll admit it or not). and someday i'll get the privilege of telling judah about this time in our lives. about when her grandpa stepped up and took action.

i am so blessed, papa, that you are my dad. i am so grateful that the Lord allowed me to be in your family. He didn't have to. He could have given you to someone else. but man am i glad He didn't.
i love you, dad.
and i mean it when i say that
are the very

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

convicting mercy

we took communion today.

as our pastor read from Scripture, i was convicted of the Lord's mercy. by that i mean i saw how merciful He has been to me, how He redeemed me and i was put to shame by the desire to hold others' sins against them.

namely, those "missionaries" from idaho who thought a good idea was to go to haiti and take children that did not belong to them. apparently just coming to america solves all problems. nothing to be said about living in Christ-centered homes no matter where you are on earth. no matter the conditions.

having spent two years working hard to fight lies and misconceptions about international adoption, the actions of these "well-meaning" people was a huge blow. i was angry. actually, i was more than that.

i was condemning.

and today Christ showed me my sin. it's not for me to judge. it's not for me to condemn them. yes, they were wrong. but (and i hope this is true) they thought they were doing something good. "misguided" doesn't even come close to touching how wrong they were. but they will have to live with their horrible decision for the rest of their lives.

i understand the consequences of sin. moreover, i know a thing or two about really public sin. one of my sins hangs out like summer laundry for the world to see. i have repented and i have been forgiven. GRAS A DYE!
(grace of God!)
even so, the world still sees my sin. even so i endure ramifications of my sin all the time. and my sin was never broadcast on international television.
the Lord quietly, gently, kindly brought this to mind today as i sat in the back row praying. yes, those people from idaho sinned. but so have i. and i have been forgiven, washed clean. if they repent to Jesus Christ for their sin, they too will be forgiven.

who am i to condemn?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the next step

i am so blessed.

i honestly have the best of friends and the most wonderful family. if you know me, you can't deny this.

it's hard to think about the next step.

there was an unspeakable tragedy. and there were days of uncertainty. there is still a great deal unknown. people are suffering unimaginable pain. and they seem to suffer with dignity. i've been on quite the roller coaster, as we all have, the last three weeks and two days. i soar with the triumph of ALL OUR CHILDREN COMING HOME!
and then my heart sinks as the reports come in and i read that 45 children lost their lives. again, i'm encouraged when i think of those children dancing with full bellies and no sickness in the presence of our Lord Jesus!
next i speak with nicole and learn she's lost her boyfriend and they've not been eating. i ask God, "why? why can't i do something for those who are in need?"
"why did it have to happen?"
"why can't i go?"

i read about friends who have had to make tough decisions to leave their country behind. i ache some more. i know that pain. know it all too well.

the earthquake has renewed my prayer life.
i prayed a lot before january 12, but i have not ceased since that day. i know that is what i was commanded to do all along. the Lord, it is said, works in mysterious ways.

my mother is my best friend.
(i know i call a lot of people that, but seriously, she is.)

my mom and our dear friend reg put their words and my wonderings into action. they believed in a fundraiser. they supported my hopes. they have worked tirelessly since we set about to do this thing. and that has moved me. my dad has been a constant support. he has precautions and ideas. again, blessed.

this is what we are doing:
on february 20th, there will be a (i hesitate to call it this) craft fair.
we will be selling art, photography, jewelry, quilts, children's boutique wear, really tasty baked goods, and much more. we will also have live music and a caricature artist.
at the same time we are orchestrating a community fundraiser. many local businesses will be donating to our cause from their profits of said weekend. the idea is simple: many people are strapped financially and won't make it to the (ahem) craft fair. these same people, however, will pick up their dry cleaning, get their morning mocha, and their afternoon sub. if the dry cleaners are donating some of their profits to haïti, then the customer can feel like a contributor without going over their budget.

this is a big project but it feels really good to be doing something to help. and as i said, i am so blessed. so far i have over 20 people (read "friends" or "blessings") who are busy making products which they are donating no strings attached, to the fundraiser. the print shop where i was printing some of my pictures to sell, printed them free of charge. the copy shop where i stopped to make copies of my flyers, printed them free of charge. the newspaper is going to run our flyer free of charge. and the lady from the cable company is in my weight watchers group and said she'd put my announcement on tv free of charge!
a wonderful woman in our church wrote me a check to print pictures, buy frames, make my verse books and whatever other expenses might come up. she just sent it to me in the mail because she wanted to help. seriously.
i have a friend whose son made a stuffed animal, his first sewing project. he's making stuffed cats to benefit the children of haïti. incidentally, i became involved with "new life to the children" because of his grandpa and took my first trip to haïti because of and with his dad.

some have asked me about my choice to raise funds for "new life to the children" and not "three angels." i'll answer that now. "three angels" is a solid organization. i support them. gretchen and shannon are very close to my heart. i have donated to their cause over the years and since the quake. i loved my time living at Angel House.
the reason i have chosen "new life" instead is because of need. "three angels" has made a bit of a name for itself this past month. they are on the radio and television all over the country. newspapers continue to spotlight the miraculous exodus of those remaining 26 children. they were even featured in time magazine!
i praise the Lord that those 26 children, most of whom i lived with and prayed over constantly, are now home with their forever families. but "new life" lost 45 children. most of their buildings have been destroyed. they are haitian founded and run, so their voice in america is not strong. they have received little aid so far. prior to the quake, they were building on some property outside of port au prince. reports say the construction is unharmed. don will be arriving there tomorrow to investigate and assess whether they can put up temporary, safe buildings on the site and move the remaining children and caregivers there.
i want to help in this. i worked with these pastors, caregivers, and children. i think this is a worthy cause. i know the money raised will not be squandered. i know they have great need. i want to make their voice heard.
please support them.